Chromecast

'The easiest way to watch online video on your TV'

We've just wrapped up at the Google "Breakfast" event here in San Francisco where they announced among other things the Chromecast. This little Chrome-powered dongle is here as a simple way to "cast" content from your phone, tablet or laptop to any TV with a simple tap. The dongle connects to any TV with a HDMI input and gets additional power through MicroUSB, with no further setup required -- all administration of content and settings is handled from the phone, tablet or laptop.

With updated versions of Youtube, Google Play, Netflix and other apps on the phone side, Chromecast will offer functionality nearly identical to what we saw with the Nexus Q. While you use your phone or tablet as a remote, the Chromecast pulls down content directly from the web, again like the Nexus Q. Out of the box we're looking at Google Play Music, Play Movies & TV, Netflix and Pandora support. Google has also announced an SDK preview to let more developers in on the action.

And here's the best part; Chromecast is just $35. Stick around after the break for some hands-on pictures of the Chromecast hardware and the device in action.

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the Chromecast: Pictures and video of Google's newest living room play

176 Comments

Wait, if this "casts" what is on your phone, why couldn't you just cast what's playing on your Hulu phone app? Though you'd still be screwed from playing any "web-only" content, which is a completely BS hurdle if you ask me.

Nevermind, if it's like the Q then it's completely independent of your phone. Meh, I'll stick to BubbleUPnP, and the "hassle" of plugging my TV into my HDMI on my phone.

For 35 bucks you are going to stick with a cable?

You can pay 35 bucks for an HDMI cable these days.

not to get off topic here but you need to check out dcables.com (also available on amazon and ebay). They are rated as high on most review sites as the best monster cables and run around $8 for a 6' cable. I have them on my Oppo and the sound and video is awesome!

Monoprice.com has a better selection at the same or cheaper prices. For example, a standard 10-foot HDMI cord at DCables.com is $5 and is only in black. I can go to Monoprice.com, get the cable at the same price, and also get it in nearly any color I want.

Part of shopping is comparing and contrasting. Maybe DCables has its upsides, but from what I can tell, Monoprice has the edge.

Its not a mirror or just a video playback. Its a device that reads your device and display the image which its told. for example he was navigating on the phone while the TV still played the content. Which means additional software is needed from the provider. Plus its only a matter of time till developers create ways to display apps/games/pictures/etc. Patience my friend

exactly why this is better. you're phone or tablet isn't having to stream to the tv. only serves as user interface for the chromecast

Isn't that even slower, because the device has to communicate more? How is that better than airplay or airplay mirroring, which simply transmits the data directly over wifi?

Because then you can't use your phone to do things outside the app. All you do from your phone is tell your TV to "play this" and then your phone's job is done. You can turn off your phone if you want, put it to sleep, play a game, whatever.

This is huge because then developers don't have to create a separate UI for your TV- the UI is on your phone, and the TV only needs to display content (and not how to get to that content).

This is some serious innovation, +1 Google.

It has Hulu support, just open Hulu on your laptop and then chromecast hulu over to the device. Don't even have to have a hulu premium account.

Oh, and another thing....

I bet this thing ties into Google Drive for business presentations. Almost every conference room has a Big Screen hanging on the wall, and walking in and doing your presentation from a Slideshow/Powerpoint on your google drive would sell thousands to business folks.

If Google won't do it, Devs will when the dev kit is released.

Holy crap if this thing would stream movies and stuff directly from my Google Drive (or other cloud sites), I will purchase this instantly.

yeah, bet hulu isn't far behind, especially since the API is there for any app developer to use. heck, you could load Hulu in Chrome on your laptop/desktop and beam it over that way.

Yeah, only reason people have AppleTV is because they're basically forced into it by
Apples Monarchical eco-system. Google doesn't discriminate because they stick to their number one rule: "Don't be evil".

They stick to the ads (let's not consider google a person)! But I do like Google's way of doing business more than apple's.

Also, does anyone know if it is possible to do video through the TV and audio through the device controlling it, with headphones?

Well isn't that an idea!! I personally have wireless headset hooked into my TV anyway, but your idea would've been much more convenient.

I am assuming it is something they would promote if it was a feature. The new Roku 3 is able to do that through the remote, one of the reasons I was thinking of upgrading.

Great idea.

If you want to watch a movie at night then why stream audio and video to tv and then have to plug headphones in to tv?

I can't tell if this device can stream local files (movies, songs, etc.)from the tablet/phone. Anybody know?

Right now, it sounds like the app has to support it. If your songs are on your phone and you're playing them through Google Play Music, then yes. But I don't believe that Google Play Movies can play content stored on your device, right?

I don't think Google Play Music through Chromecast will work if the songs are not in the cloud as well. It sends a command to the device which tells it to fetch the files from the cloud to play as of right now.

It should be able to handle the local aspect, but that likely will have to be added in by the developer. I just am hoping for DLNA/UPnP support since most of the media I have is on my NAS, not the cloud (except for music)

I don't think Google Play Music through Chromecast will work if the songs are not in the cloud as well. It sends a command to the device which tells it to fetch the files from the cloud to play as of right now.

It should be able to handle the local aspect, but that likely will have to be added in by the developer. I just am hoping for DLNA/UPnP support since most of the media I have is on my NAS, not the cloud (except for music)

Google Play Music would just pull their copy of the song your requesting (with album art I assume) and play it then.

True, but there's a chance that the song you're requesting isn't available on their library (Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, etc)

Why would they skimp on the ability to stream the audio *from* the device? They do full browser mirroring, for crying out loud... That takes a whole lot more bandwidth than sending some stereo audio over a 2.4Ghz spectrum...

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just thinking out loud. Or I guess this isn't out loud. It's still silent, but it's public. Whatever.

Because I'm not going to go out and buy a 1000 dollar TV when I can just buy this dongle for 35 bucks?

Exactly. My girl and I just bought a 55" TV for our living room and are going to move our 32" into the bedroom. The only problem was what we were going to do in order to watch Netflix, etc. (we don't have cable). Literally a week later Google drops this savior into my lap haha.

Who says it won't be? Wanna wait for that future TV for the features, or buy a dongle for 35 bucks (minus Netflix savings) and enjoy it now? I choose now.

They said this is the start and the goal later is many devices: boxes/tvs/whatever with their partners... to include chromecasting support.

Yep. The Youtube app for TiVo supports this without the dongle. I use my N4 to search and play instead of the TiVo remote control.

Except you can't watch anything that is "web-only". I am assuming with this dongle, you can open YouTube on Chrome and watch the web-only videos as well, such as Vevo music videos.

This was the most surprising part - If it was available on my phone, I could watch it on my TV.

No longer restricted to "web-only" content. I watched a number of Vevo videos, for example...

But if I didn't use my phone, I was blocked again.

Because when better hardware with a better experience comes out I shouldn't have to buy a new television set to get the better experience. Think of all the people with first generation smart TV's and the poor experience they now offer. Would you rather buy a new $35 dongle every two years or a new $1000 television set?

And then there are those of us who have just plain HDTVs that were purchased before smart TVs were really a thing. My TV works just fine. I don't need a new one. This Chromecast is perfect for me.

Can anyone comment on the AVR aspect, can this be connected to an AVR or only a TV?

Google made one very bad assumption in this demo when they commented, "your best speakers are connected to your TV". That's just not true, in any home theater your best speakers are connected to your Audio Video Receiver and your TV is simply a monitor on HDMI out. Connecting this to a TV input would then ignore the AVR and sound would come through the TV speakers, which are not the best in the house.

If you have your TV/AVR set up properly, then yes, they are attached to your TV.

Most recent TV's/AVR's support CEC. That's how you can do volume controls and more, including powering the device on. If you have your TV set up properly, you can tell it to always output audio to your AVR which it should be connected to. If you don't know how to do that, ask around, it's not that difficult.

I should also add, you likely should still be able to connect it to your AVR, but your AVR may not pass through the poweron command to your TV when you start playing through it. If you properly use CEC, the moment you turn your TV on, your AVR should power on also and go to the proper input. At the end of the day, it depends on how you set things up.

If you have a good video pass through receiver, then just plug it into that instead of the TV, no difference.

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But your tv is connected to you avr. Turn off the volume of the tv and just use the best speakers connteced to you receiver.

I assume it would work fine...no reason why it wouldn't. It might not auto-switch to the right input, but that's a small hassle to have to deal with.

I'm curious how this will work with A/V setups that use HDMI pass through receivers. I just ordered one, but if it works through the receiver okay, then I'll get another 2. In total I have an Xbox on one TV, Roku on another, and Samsung Smart TV on the third. So three different systems, remotes, apps, etc. I would really like them all to just be simple Chromecast setups for Netflix in the least.

A PS3 can wake up all appropriate devices (TV and AV receiver) and switch to the correct inputs, so if it supports the HDMI-CEC protocol properly, you shouldn't have any issues.

Please have pogoplug, plex, and vulkano apps work with this and you will have a few sales out of my family alone.

Posted via Android Central App

I ordered 2 this afternoon... I am excited about the price, and with the netflix deal, it ends up costing like $20 dollar for one of these (even for an existing customer) don't know why someone wouldn't jump on this.

but, WHEN these gain plex support.... *shivers*... it is gonna be epic.

Now you've got my attention.

Do these things need to have their own, independant connection to the internet? Or can they get the data straight from the phone via wifi direct?

When I travel for work, I plug the phone into the hotel TV, but it is a janky pain with an MHL dongle and your phone being tied to the TV.

If a guy could just pop this thing into the back of the TV and then still use his phone, that would be tits.

I suppose the dongle could tether to the phone?

-Suntan

This already looks really promising. Even if I don't use it at home it would be worth having in my bag for travelling.

Any chance they will ever add dlna support? It would be great to be able to take my media from Plex or any other dlna compliant device and essentially stream it to the tv.

For that price I'll definitely be getting a couple.

$35 had me sold from the jump. I couldn't swipe my card anywhere so i just threw it at the monitor. Still worked. Shipping 7/27! Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!!!

Chrome Beta will mirror the browser on your machine per the presentation... Regardless, I'm guessing that is a future release. Since it will be on the device side they dongle itself won't need an upgrade. If it does, $35 is throw away if you had to buy a new to get that.

I wouldn't go that far, but I do agree that having the *option* to do full on mirroring would be ideal. Local dlna access would be a nice alternative too.

I wouldn't want it to only do mirroring though. You watch a couple of shows in a row and your phone batt is now flat, plus you can't use your phone to surf/dink while watching something on the TV.

-Suntan

Nah, they and Google are still in a big ol' pissing match. All it's doing s fragmenting their ecosystems and driving consumers away, but no.

"Amazon won't share their numbers for android statistics! Amazon forked Android and won't play nice with it!"

"Google won't share its apps with us!"

"KIDS, IF I HAVE TO COME BACK THERE, I SWEAR TO GOD!"

Just went to the chromecast setup page and the cast extension only supports chromebook pixel at the moment, even though I can install it.

Please bring to the UK ASAP Google, I need this now!!! to watch android central podcasts on my big ass tv

Sorry That's what i was meaning Chromebook Pixel support, but not my chromebook at the moment. I typed before I thought.

Jeff Jarvis from This Week in Google is stating you can view tabs/web pages from Chrome using the Chromecast, is this right? I don't see anything about this.

Well I guess so but it's not like it's a weird nickname. It's the industry term for this kind of accessory.

Just bought mine. With tax and shipping it was $42.00. Should get to my house by August 2.

Posted via Android Central App

Anyone hear exactly when it would be available on Amazon? As much as I want it now, I'll be frugal and save the $10 on 2 day shipping hopefully with Prime.

I keep hitting refresh but wondering if the Play Store is already running out and moving out ship dates, if Amazon will be impacted as well.

Useless...

@amazon @AmazonHelp When will Chromecast be available on your site? Thanks.

Amazon Help ‏@AmazonHelp
@orlanka We're not sure, however, feel free to keep checking back. ^DR

Questions galore..it says it syncs with your phone, iOS device or laptop on the WiFi network. And where the AV receiver is concerned, it would seem logical to plug it into an HDMI port on the receiver and then assign that port for viewing. So you don't burn up your Android phone battery while watching, I guess you have to have your laptop with Chrome installed and running to use it, right? And then there's setting up the Harmony remote too..hmmmmmmm

I'm pretty sure it just pull the content from the web, not your phone/tablet. Think if your phone/tablet as a remote. I THINK that's how it works :)

Of course, but this sounds like a USB charges it. Assuming the other poster is recommending people charge this via another input on their TV. I don't know that I would go that route.

If its like the HTC media link which has similar functionality you can just plug into the USB port on your TV to power it, so no wires hanging out if you've got it wall mounted.

So if I already have Netflix would I get a three month credit? If so, I'll be buying 4 if these....

(I'm sure the three months free is for new customers only, but Google is full of surprises!)

Posted via Android Central App

I just ordered through the Play store. My bank account shows Google took my money, but I didn't receive any kind of confirmation about my order from Google. I'm concerned about this...

What if I connect this to my Onkyo audio reciever? will I still be able to do everything? I connect everything like my HTPC, Cable, Bluray to my receiver and from there I send video to TV.

So if you can mirror a Chrome tab from PC, does that mean I can mirror a tab with Hulu opened and watch Hulu on TV?

Can someone at Android Central test that theory?

When will this be in Canada and for how much? Please don't say it will be next year before this comes to the Canadian market.

I just don't see the appeal to this one. It isn't bringing anything new, or anything easier if you ask me. There have been plenty of ways to do streaming since now over the air. Not often would I be using the television for music either.

Just imagine the possibilities. For $35 they essentially bridged the income gap for those that don't have $1000 SMART TV's or Galaxy S phones. If app developers got on board you could see amazing things. If app developers got on board, your phone could essentially end up being a poor man's Google TV

No 5ghz or AC in a video streamer? No Amazon Prime or Plex either. Pass. Even Apple TV does Plex although not Amazon Prime. I'll stick with Roku.

You can buy an adapter for that...HDMI going in, and Red/Blue/Yellow/White wires coming out.

Does your TV have Component inputs? If so, you can search for a variety of cable solutions to help out your TV. If you buy a Component to HDMI cable along with a female to female HDMI connector, in theory, you may be able to connect this device. It wouldn't be pretty, but it should work.

Only if his TV can read/convert digital (hdmi) input via analog (component), otherwise he would need a separate converter box which would cost more than the chromecast itself

Same here. Good ol' CRT. Guess I gotta upgrade to a TV with HDMI

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I wonder if hotel are going to attempt to block this. Because it looks like I can now bring Netflix, Google Play etc to a hotel TV just by plugging it in and now have to worry about spending money on Pay Per View...this is great for anyone who travels. Better than watching movies on your tablet that's for sure.

At that price, even if it's not perfect it will be great.

So, this fully replaces the Nexus Q and is much cheaper. Well, guess i got a relic of Google.

Love the price, love the 2 inch dongle....hate how it requires its own power source :(
Not sure there is a way around that unfortunately... but I've already got enough stuff plugged in and wires everywhere around my tv.

I wish this has an option for hard wiring to my network (RJ45 port). Plus do I really want to stream music to my TV? I want to stream direct to my pre-amp in my home theater via a digital connection. Still, I may try this out for $35.

1) Can multiple Android devices connect to the same Chromecast device and build up a music playlist?

2) Will I be able to plug this device into my new Onkyo NR515 AV Amplifier?

Thanks!

I doubt it'll happen, but I really hope Plex adds Chromecast functionality into their desktop app and Android App. I have a home media server set up using Plex, but currently no good way to get content displayed on my TV.

Any idea why this can only work on the pixel and not my samsung chromebook? Can't be a hardware thing if the dongle is doing all the work?

From a developer point of view Chromecast is not as great as it seems from a user's POV.
I'm an app developer of AV streaming apps, and had a good look at the developer documentation.

It is really designed to stream Internet media and not much more. Want to stream your local media ? It will not be easy, if even possible. Forget about Plex, XBMC, your NAS media at least for a while.

First it is very limited in the codec departement: h.264, VP8, HE-AAC, LC-AAC, CELT/OPUS, MP3

In other words: html5 supported codecs / containers only. There is not even a lossless audio format in that list (WAV, FLAC, ..). Forget streaming MKV unless it is remuxed to mp4 or webm container.

Then any third party app *must be registred and approved with Google*. That and the SDK terms have a clause that will prevent any Open Source Sender/receiver. From the SDK download page, these alarming statements:

"You may not publicly distribute or ship your Google Cast application without written permission from Google, per the terms of service described below."

"YOU MAY NOT PUBLICLY DISTRIBUTE CODE CONTAINING THIS SDK OR REFERENCING THESE APIs WITHOUT A WRITTEN AGREEMENT WITH GOOGLE ALLOWING YOU TO DO SO."

In other terms, it is as closed tech as it gets.

Each third party app wanting to support Chromecast has to be approved by google but alos has to manage a web service to which the Chrome instance running on the dongle will connect to.

The most severe limitations are:

- not suitable to stream your local content
- very few codecs supported
- closed tech preventing Open Source programs to use the SDK unless the protocol is reverse engineered
- needs Google approval for third party apps
- requires some sort of web service

some of this is confusing, but I essentially use my xbox for Netfix, Amazon Video and HBO Go. So something like this has little use for me right?

Lol I admit I was duped too... I thought he was going to be in a room with a TV. Turns out this was an unboxing video.

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So if I understand correctly, this is like all share on my Galaxy S4 which is a great way to watch movies on your phone on a Samsung smart tv. My only question is, will it stream my movie content in ITunes??

Tia,

Ian B

Does it connect to my same home WiFi network or do I have to create separate one for the chromecast. Also, my chromecast shipped on amazon but I have no Netflix code email as of yet.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm curious about that as well. I was going to order mine via Amazon but the Amazon page says nothing about a Netflix deal so that may be through Google Play only.

So, if I'm reading this correctly, you can't stream music or video directly from your computer or Android device to the Chromecast. That makes it a very limited device. The only thing this offers (that my TV set, Apple TV, PS3, and Blu-Ray player doesn't) is Google Play support. I'm not quite sure why people are falling over themselves just to get that capability.

For me the killer feature is the ability to display web content from the browser which is lacking in the other streaming players I have. Also, it's cheap, so if it doesn't provide what I expect it isn't a big loss.

I beleive that you can, you just find the path on your computer and paste that path into the address bar in a Chrome browser

Unknowingly, I have been using an early version of Chromecast since December. Our new HD TV from Vizio came with access to, among other things, Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora. I am able to send videos from my YouTube app on my phone and Nexus 7 to the TV, including queuing videos. It works pretty nicely and I do see the Chromecast icon on my YouTube app. I like it very much. It will be nice to do the same with Netflix and other upcoming services! I ordered my Chromecast last night!

In this early version, the way I connected the TV to my YouTube was, as instructed by the TV menu, to enter a pairing code on the app/YouTube account, and voila! It worked.

Ordered on bestbuy.com and it shipped today with free overnight shipping (Rewards Zone Premium Silver Member) will have it tomorrow!!!!

Slowly moving towards Apple and considering ditching both my Android phone and tablet?

Why? I'm sick of Google treating Canada (or more broadly the rest of the world) as second-class citizens.

No Chromecast up here? No Play Music. No Google Wallet.

Here in Canada, there really isn't much that Google offers on Android that you can't get on iOS. And at least I know that when Apple launches something, it's not US exclusive.

Ordered yesterday afternoon. Paid $4 for overnight shipping with my prime membership. The brown truck just dropped it off at my office. Can't wait to try it out tonight.

Why chrome ? Why not Android ? What a crock!

I want to use a BlueTooth keyboard and mouse on my phone coupled with a HDMI link, wireless or not to use my TV as a screen. I given that, I could ditch at least one of my computers. If Android had support for network connected or wireless Blu-Ray player/writer, I could be rid of all my PCs.

Google seems to be missing out on what could be a death blow to Microsoft by making current super-phones able to work as full-fledged PCs.

Anyone at Google reading this comment ? >Cue the knocking on the forehead sound< "Hello, McGoogle, anyone in there ?"

I know this was asked deep in another comment, but does the chromecast connect to more than one users phone. For example, can my wife and I both cast to the device (obviously not at the same time) it would be great if it could, so if I wasn't home with my phone she could still watch netflix, etc. and vice vesa.